Thursday, June 23, 2005

Today's News

A 1991 United Nations Security Council Resolution decided that Iraq must "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision" all of its chemical weapons and such. In 2002, they unanimously passed another resolution offering Iraq a "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations." That's 11 years of pussyfooting around, and when the U.N. Security Council was going to suggest setting a deadline for Saddam to comply, France declared they'd veto any resolution giving Iraq a deadline. We know now that France was benefiting from the Oil for Food Scandal. Bear in mind that Saddam had killed thousands of his own citizens with chemical weapons. In 2003, the United States decided not to wait for the other U.N. countries; they accepted what allies they could gather, and then set out to oust Saddam.

Now the United States has been holding about 520 terrorism suspects at a place called Guantanamo Bay. The Red Cross has been allowed to interview the detainees and inspect the facilities. Their reports included allegations of torture and mistreatment of the Koran. The U.S. Government is going out of their way to provide suspected Muslim extremist terrorists with copies of the Koran, not to mention spending millions of dollars to provide them with "proper" Muslim meals, and they took this report from the Red Cross seriously and actually took corrective action to prevent these things from happening in the future. After Newsweek printed an article alleging serious desecrations of the Koran (which they later retracted), the military launched another investigation that revealed 5 cases of Korans being mishandled (2 intentional) and 15 cases of the detainees desecrating their own Korans, including trying to flush them down the toilet. The government has also conducted investigations into allegations of torture (obviously mostly allegations made by detainees and ex-detainees), and have found Guantanamo to be "being operated at very high standards." But people continue to compare the place to Nazi death camps and Soviet gulags, so some experts at the U.N. have blasted the U.S. Government for not responding to their request to be allowed to conduct an investigation of the facility.

Some quotes:
But one investigator, Algerian magistrate Leila Zerrougui, said: "The time is up. We have to act now. If not, we won't have any credibility left."

"At a certain point, you have to take well-founded allegations as proven in the absence of a clear explanation by the government," Nowak said.
It's kind of funny, in light what the U.N. allowed Saddam to do for over a decade.

Remember how the U.S. (specifically the Bush Administration) took so much heat for refusing to sign onto the Kyoto agreement? Well apparently the EU is having a hard time keeping their commitments, while "the United States has done a better job of reducing the amount of energy used to produce a dollar of output than the European Union has."

Now, while Democrats are busy fighting the Patriot Act and Republicans are busy trying to amend the constitution so that Congress can make it illegal to "desecrate" (i.e. burn) the flag, the Supreme Court decided that local governments can kick citizens out of their homes to make room for shopping malls. So while the Democrats are worried that the law enforcement agencies are going to start spying on people for fun, and the Republicans are trying to outlaw a very legitimate (albeit wrong) activity, the judicial branch of our government opened the door for cities to remove "problem areas" by inviting Wal-Mart to come in and kick the residents out. Has the world gone mad?
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